“Advocacy is not an instrumental relationship. CREA is engaged with constituencies and therefore able to bridge gaps. CREA does not speak ‘for’ them, but guides, supports, and keeps groups informed.” -Geetanjali Misra, CREA Executive Director
Advocacy aims to influence those with decision making power to change the structures that determine people’s ability to exercise their rights. These structures can be legal, political, social or economic.
The core principle of CREA’s approach is to ensure the participation of the constituencies whose voices must be visible within decision-making spaces. CREA strives to equip its core constituencies to engage in advocacy on their own behalf. Rarely does CREA itself lead advocacy efforts unless this is done in close consultation and collaboration with the constituencies it is representing. Instead, CREA’s method employs 5 C’s to support the targets and goals of the groups it works with, aiming to:
- Convene: Create space for constituencies to set goals and priorities
- Capacitate: Help groups identify strategies and tactics
- Complicate: Insist on politics of deep inclusion and insert a counter-discourse that challenges the claims or dominant frames of social movements where needed
- Connect: Bridge fault lines between social movements
- Communicate: Create messages that inspire people to take action
Depending on the needs and capacities of the constituency, CREA’s role will vary. In addition to creating space for key constituencies to step into an advocacy role, CREA can provide material support, or help constituencies broker relationships with others outside their known circles.
Building these cross-movement linkages is central to CREA’s advocacy approach and its broader areas of work. CREA engages across multiple social movements on cross-cutting issues of gender and sexuality. Major areas of priority for CREA’s advocacy efforts includes promoting rights-based approaches to abortion, sex work, and decriminalization.
Working from an intersectional perspective allows CREA to understand the respective claims and politics of different social movements. CREA may also identify areas of tensions between different constituencies and be in a position to help resolve them.
These links to diverse social movements at the national, regional and global levels also put CREA in a position to amplify the advocacy messages of core constituencies in order to reach new audiences or key decision-makers that local groups often lack access to. CREA deploys its communications capacity to mobilize its networks to take action in order to demonstrate broad-based, cross-movement consensus around a particular issue.
CREA’s advocacy tools include long term campaigns and critical convenings, which complement events aimed at public education.